Stick and I went to Play! A Videogame Symphony at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre a few weekends ago. We joined the crazy quilt of blankets, over a carpet of drying pine needles, and unpacked our cheese, olives, Nintendo DS, and those mini wine bottles I keep calling chardonnay shots. We must have been flying the nerd flag, because a fellow passing out flyers for a gaming and music fest in DC in a few months, came right to us. And after telling him no thanks, we realized we might actually be in DC in a few months!
Once it got dark, the performance began. The conductor opened by asking everyone to feel free to clap and cheer if they felt moved to do so, and everyone did. I was so impressed with the range of games chosen, with the wild shift from metallic beeps to symphony, and with the music in general.
Sometimes when I’ve lived abroad, I’ve had moments of glowing amazement that I was really in that place. This is me, walking across the St. Catherine’s quad to go to a lecture in Cambridge, I remember thinking, or this is me, on the Great Wall of China. I’m always amazed to find myself actually at place I recognize from books, walking in the steps of history. (Yes, it’s true, my self-centeredness knows no bounds.) it’s best when I’m traveling, of course, but even in Amherst, I would sometimes be amazed by real New England fall leaves! Just like in books!
In this past almost-year in North Carolina, I haven’t felt like that at all. Probably because it’s hard to feel any connection with the past in the brand-new sameness of Cary. It’s hard to feel amazement and wonder that I’m driving on a highway.
But finally, lying on the blanket looking up at the tall, skinny Carolina pines, and listening to the swell of the symphony and the applause, I felt amazed that I live here. This is it. The Carolina pines, the endless Southern twilight. Just like in books! With the cheering nerd-crowd as an added bonus. I sighed with total contentment.
“I think I felt a raindrop,” Stick said.
The other part of Southern summers in books are the surprise, torrential thundershowers. Within moments, we were drenched. We tried to tough it out long enough to hear World Of WarCraft: Stormwind, but soaked jeans are not fun and we joined the mob running for the parking lot.